September 28, 2015

Ohio Voters Rejecting Sellout Strickland

The National Journal is out with a new profile of former Ohio congressman, governor and current retread senate candidate Ted Strickland, and it’s full of bad news for his electoral prospects in crucial Southeast Ohio – once a stronghold for Strickland – due to his sharp turn to the left since his defeat in 2010:

But it’s not so simple for a Democrat in the Obama era. The national party’s leftward march on social and cultural issues could leave even Strickland—one of Democrats’ greatest remaining ambassadors to Appalachia but also a loyal party member who worked for a progressive nonprofit in D.C. after leaving the governor’s mansion—unable to connect with the same voters who once elected him eagerly.

Detailing how Ohio voters have recently rejected Strickland’s fellow once-successful Democratic congressmen Charlie Wilson and Zack Space, reporter Andrea Drusch points out that Strickland faces an even tougher slog than his former colleagues given his tenure at the ultra-liberal Center for American Progress:

Plus, neither Wilson nor Space went to work for a liberal think tank before their campaigns.

After leaving the governor’s office in 2010 and spending a few years consulting, Strickland moved to Washington to become the president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of a major progressive think tank. CAP has employed many current and former officials in the Clinton and Obama administrations, and it has been an aggressive advocate for much of President Obama’s policy agenda, including stricter gun-control laws and combating climate change.

Strickland’s selling out goes beyond the think tank gig he described as his “dream job” – even outside of CAP’s umbrella he’s flip-flopped on Second Amendment rights and coal policy:

And Strickland isn’t merely tied to these issues by association with CAP. Since leaving office, he’s come out in favor of background checks for gun purchasers and discussed in depth the dangers of climate change…

Strickland may still have a rapport with local gun owners and coal miners, but he has drifted to the left of where he once stood on their issues. When Strickland declared his Senate candidacy this spring, both the Ohio Coal Association and local Buckeye Firearms Association quickly put out disapproving statements.

And – despite doing his best to avoid the “divisive” issue – Strickland is apparently about to side with liberal environmentalists on the Keystone XL pipeline:

Most recently, he told National Journal that he likely would not support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a hot-button issue for business, labor, energy, and environmental groups that he has long declined to take a position on.

All of this has led to former Strickland stalwarts concluding that he’s simply out of touch with Ohio:

Jeff Albrecht, a Portsmouth hotel owner who several years back hosted Strickland’s first gubernatorial campaign launch party, said he had high hopes about sending a local to the governor’s office. But Albrecht ended up disappointed by Strickland’s accomplishments for the area. He is supporting Portman for reelection.